Understanding Good Fats For Your Fitness
Dietary fat is actually an important source of energy for your body. Your body uses it to produce cell membranes as well as certain hormones and it is also critical in regulating your blood pressure as well as heart rate. It also helps to regulate blood vessel constriction your nervous system and blood clotting.
Dietary fat also helps your body in its ability to absorb vitamins such as vitamin D, vitamin A, vitamin E, and vitamin K. However, not all fats are created equal and incorporating large amounts of the wrong types of fat can be detrimental to your health. However, sometimes telling the good fats from the bad is not as easy as you may think.
You need to learn what to look for. Healthy monounsaturated fats or “ MUFA” will remain in a liquid form that room temperature but can start to solidify in cooler temperatures in the refrigerator.
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Healthy polyunsaturated fats will remain in liquid form when at room temperatures as well, however it will also remain a liquid in the cooler temperatures your refrigerator. Foods that are high in polyunsaturated fats include sources such as cottonseed oils, vegetable oils, safflower oils, corn oils, as well as sunflower and soy.
Healthy omega-3 fatty acids are an incredibly healthy form of polyunsaturated fat. They are found mostly in seafoods rich in fat such as herring, mackerel, and salmon. All you need to do is eat two fish meals a week to get your recommended intake of healthy seafood.
If you are not a big fish eater, you can also get your omega-3 fatty acids from plant sources such as walnuts, flaxseeds, and flaxseed oil. Canola oil also contains omega-3 fatty acids in a lesser degree.
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Unhealthy fats such as saturated fats will become semisolid or completely solid when at room temperature. A stick of butter as well as the marbling that you see in a piece of red meat are good examples of this fat. The biggest source of saturated fat typically comes from animal foods.
There are however three vegetable sources that contain high levels of saturated fat as well. They are coconut oil, palm oil, and cocoa butter. It can be next to impossible try to get your saturated fat intake down to zero. Even the use of healthy olive oil still contains 2 g saturated fat per tablespoon.
Unhealthy trans fats not only raise your LDL cholesterol and lower your healthy HDL-cholesterol, they contribute to increasing your risk of heart disease. These fats seem to be the worst of all the fats. They are mostly found in package products and typically every food that contains shortening. They were created when manufacturers started hydrogenating liquid oils to help increase their shelf life.
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Nutrition labels representing these fats can be somewhat misleading. Manufacturers are allowed to legally claim 0 g of trans fats even if up to a half a gram per serving is present in the product. Check the label for words such as hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated in the ingredient list to locate these deadly fats.
By knowing these types of fats and what to look for you can greatly increase the quality of nutrients that you supply your body to help improve your overall fitness levels and health.